This month Business & Finance launches a new campaign, in association with our deep network of Irish business leaders, to promote The Healthy Workplace.
Business & Finance, Ireland’s leading business media house, is launching The Healthy Workplace campaign, in order to convene its deep and broad-ranging network of business leaders to actively spearhead the promotion of healthy workplaces in their companies.
At a societal level, the more people in employment the better the economic health of the country. This in turn creates an environment and culture that promotes better health – physical, emotional and mental – at an individual level and at a societal level.
However the workplace, and workplace stress in particular, can also have a negative impact on health. The challenge for the employer is to create a workplace that is healthy and promotes the good health of the employees.
The Healthy Workplace takes into account the physical and mental health of its employees and a range of elements from time management, stress, healthy eating, exercise and team sports, mindfulness, and creating a healthy working environment, free from bullying, sexism, racism or any other prejudice-based behaviours.
The age profile of Ireland is rising: by 2036, the over-65s will account for 20 per cent of the population. The ratio of economically active people to retirement age people will drop to 3.5 : 1. The health of the workforce is imperative to ensure we have an adequate workforce to support economic growth. There is also the broader discussion of allowing those who wish to work past retirement age to continue to do so.
Experts believe absenteeism costs Irish businesses up to €2billion per year. The costs are not purely financial as absenteeism impacts negatively on quality, production and customer service, while placing additional demands on employees who must cope in the absence of their colleagues.
Stress and health
One of the most common work-related health issues is stress. Over 70 per cent of Irish workers have reported finding their work stressful. This can be due to overload of work, or a stressful working environment. We often look at stress points in a business in terms of the financials. The Healthy Workplace campaign looks at the most valuable assets a business has, its people, and aims to give business leaders the tools to identify and tackle stress points in their working environment.
The effects of stress have far-reaching physical implications as well as emotional, cognitive, behavioural and psychological impacts including depressive disorders. Heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders are among the most profoundly impacted by stress, and it can amplify and trigger a range of other disorders and issues.
Putting policies in place
While it is incumbent on some sectors to deal with health in a pragmatic way – manual handling courses for any workers engaged in heavy lifting, or vaccinations for health care workers, for example – the broader holistic health of all employees and the working environment is something that businesses are beginning to engage with more and more.
A good workplace wellbeing policy should aim to:
1) build and maintain a workplace environment and culture that supports healthy lifestyle choices.
2) increase worker knowledge and awareness of health and wellbeing issues and healthy lifestyle behaviours.
3) facilitate workers active participation in a range of initiatives that support health and wellbeing.
Over the coming months we will be engaging with some of the most progressive workplaces in Ireland, highlighting their healthy work practices, and inspiring with focused content, case studies, idea-sharing events and roundtables, and more, to enable Irish businesses to access a resource and network to ensure their workplace is a healthy workplace.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org